Robert Louis Stevenson
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Vs the Holy Bible: Mysticism and Prevalence of Evil in Humans
When thinking of the fall from grace one would immediately reference Adam and Eve. A classic story in the book of genesis that tells how man came to be and how man messed things up. But let’s take it back a little further; back to a time before earth was created by God. In the Heavens, god is all supreme ruler over His angels. He is alpha and omega, beginning and end. This being of ultimate power and control was loved and adored by all his creations; all except for Lucifer. Lucifer, God’s closest and most powerful angel, was jealous of Gods’ power and so he plotted to overtake Him. And of course he did not win and was cast out of Heaven. Now this, is a fall from grace. A creation that was “the son of the dawn” (Isaiah 14:12) was sent from glory all because of a hunger that plagues all of humanity to this day: control. In this essay, the question whether the author used mysticism and the prevalence of evil in order to support the theory that there humans are destined for evil, shall be compared through the analysis of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Stevenson and the Holy Bible; with excerpts from Elliot Sobers’ “Core Questions in Philosophy.”
Mysticism is in more or less words the prime element of the story Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As defined by dictionary.com it is “a doctrine of an immediate spiritual intuition of truths believed to transcend ordinary understanding, or of a direct, intimate union of the soul with God through contemplation or ecstasy.” Basically this novel was taking a step into the supernatural, and it is much needed to add a whole new dimension to the plot. Believing the unbelievable, such as God or Satan, is the necessary (and most commonly rejected) concept that leaves room for the introduction of Evil. Mr. Hyde is a character that depicts the description of evil. No one in the town could conjure a reasonable explanation as to why Mr. Hyde was such an unpleasant man except that “He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why” (ch.1). This sort of sixth sense that everyone is having about this good looking devil is a mystic trait. The presence of evil could be detected and therefore physically felt by the characters and even the reader. This awareness can also be compared with what is said in the Bible
The prevalence of Evil: The Argument of Evil as said in the Sober text is the theory that if evil exists in the world, then there cannot be an all-powerful, all-kind, all-good (all-PKG for short) being that exists. This was the arguments most basic form and it left out several factors that are extremely relevant to the prevalence of evil on earth such as: human evil and natural evil, and soul-building evils. In Stevenson’s work we find that Dr. Jekyll is constantly in a battle with his own human evil. He is incapable of being a good person with the evil in his heart. However, this story takes a step further by personifying the evil of Dr. Jekyll through his experimentation with Mr. Hyde. The evil of Mr. Hyde resonated within Dr. Jekyll, so when he is still experiencing turmoil from an evil presence in himself this shows us that there is nothing to be done. He is naturally evil, and this is how the monster of Mr. Hyde begins to take over.
Continuing into the inevitable doom of humans and their incapability to do what is right and good. Free will.
Robert Louis Stevenson: Life, Works, Death
Robert Louis Stevenson Biography
Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His name wasn’t always that, though. By birth, he was Robert Lewis Stevenson. His middle name was later changed from “Lewis” to “Louis”. Stevenson came from a good family, but was somewhat rebellious and went against their religion, and many other things. These other things included his father’s dream for him to be an engineer. This was especially important to Stevenson’s father because he was one of the first people ever to design lighthouses. Stevenson was supposed to learn about engineering when he enrolled in Edinburgh University, but instead chose to study law. While in college, Stevenson changed his mind a lot. Even though he got a degree in law, he never practiced because he decided what he wanted to do: he wanted to write.
After he was finished with college, Stevenson began to write more and more. At first, he only got a few essays published, and even those were with the help of his family. After writing many essays, Stevenson started to find more humor in people and things to write about. From 1876 to 1879, Stevenson had several of his works published in magazines. Although they did not receive much attention from critics, many other people admired them for the tone they were written in. Stevenson used a somewhat whimsy and ironic tone, modeled after Thomas Browne’s works, which Stevenson greatly admired. Gradually, Stevenson began to write about more important things, such as health, age, and marriage. His first full-length book, An Inland Voyage, was published in 1878. It was based on a journal he had kept from a canoe trip from Antwerp to Northern France. Many critics positively review this book, but it did not sell as many copies as Stevenson was hoping.
In 1879, Stevenson set off for the United States by boat. He was going to meet his future wife, Fanny Osbourne. He had met her on his canoe trip a few years ago, and wanted to travel to her home in California. The 11-day trip from Europe to the United States was very rough for Stevenson, who was already very apt to sicknesses. He arrived in New York in a horrible condition and with almost no money left. He then took a train to California in even worse conditions, and almost died there. While in California, Fanny got a divorce from her previous husband, and the two married. Their honeymoon was at an abandoned silver mine. Stevenson wrote a book recounting his experience and journey to the United States. It was titled The Amateur Emigrant, and published in 1883.
In the next years, Stevenson traveled quite a bit with his wife, but often became ill. He wrote some of his most famous novels confined to bed, because writing was one of the only things he could do during that time. He wrote part of Treasure Island while in Mexico, but again fell ill and had to continue the story from bed. Many of his stories were derived from personal experiences, or his life in general. After his father became ill, Stevenson became depressed and wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Stevenson himself had a tendency to become ill, too. Because he had more time to be at home while he was ill, Stevenson spent more time with his stepson. This inspired him to write stories with a youthful protagonist, and he wrote Kidnapped. With growing health problems in the end of the 1880’s, he wrote a lot more to friends across the sea. He expressed a desire to see his family again. Unfortunately, he never got to.
Robert Louis Stevenson died in 1894 from a stroke. He was 44 years old. Some say that he was at the height of his creative powers when he died. Some people might not know that Stevenson wrote a fair amount of poems, too, and he was buried as hinted at in one of them, on top of Mount Vaea. His poem “Requiem”, in relevant part, read, “Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie.”
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: Psychoanalytic Review
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a kind of a horroric gothic story. We have the insane scientist, the mysterious monster, crime, disappearance and everything we need. One of the most interesting aspect of it is the appearance of the double in the personality. We have all heard stories or watched films like Black Swan about personality duality. When we reach the end of the The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde a lot of question arise in our minds: what are the negative and positive sides of the personality of the character in the story, what controls the double if it can be controlled at all, what controls which sides come over the otder side, when the double occures in a personality does the person capable to realize it or is it uncouscios, and the questions which are the most interesting for us: it a real disease, if it is then what causes it and how can the person realize it?
First of all, in the novel the positive and the negative sides of the personality can be easily recognized even if we are not psychologists. The positive side is represented by Dr. Jekyll and the negative side appeares as Mr. Hyde. The difference between positive and negative can be removed from the actions and the character of the players. The character of Dr. Jekyll embodies the good. He is the outstanding doctor,scientist of the victorian society who is rich, good-looking and beneficient, but absent-minded and too outgoing. In spite of Jekyll, Hyde is a promotion being who is not capable and do not want to reign his desires. He is unscrupulous, the crime and the pleasures makes him happy. What he wants he get it no matter what, he does not care about the consequences. Not even murder stops him. As the name also represent some eeriness, Mr. Hyde is the part of the personality which is ridden in Jekyll. The physical appearance of these charaters can also be an evidence of this diversity between good and bad. While Jekyll is tall and strong, Hyde is small and gives us a feeling of uncanny. According to Sigmund Freud the feeling of uncanny can be originated in unfamiliar things (Freud: ”The uncanny”). Nobody can give a complete describtion of him, nobody knows how he really looks like, but everybody knows that he has some kind of deformation. As I mentioned the actions of the players also play an important role in the characteristic. Jekyll serves the public good with his profession, but Hyde is a rebel who kills a person without regreting it. Do you think that Jekyll would be able to do such a thing? I do not think so. Jekyll lives by rules, he would never take away a person’s life. That is the best evidence for the present good and bad in the novel.
The second question which arises in our mind at the end of the story is that what constrols the double and can it be controlled at all? The answer has a rather psychological basis. The name of Sigmund Freud appears again here, who is considered to be the creator of psychoanalysis. In the mind of Freud, there are three main agencies in people’s mind which are responsible for keeping the control and their interactions resulting the human behaviour. These three agencies are called: ID, ego and superego. In the ID people’s mind store desires which are repressed, because they goes against laws or social expectations. The superego is responsoble for human’s conscientious behaviour. The ego works as a ballancing agency between the ID and the superego. It makes sure that the desires stays at their places and superego keep the rules, the social expectations and laws at the first place. There is a very thin line between consciousness and unconsciousness, which is easy to step over. When the ego loose control over the ID, the repressed desires come to the surface and lodge themselves in the superego, which considers them as allowed things. As a result, an alterego turns up, which is known as the double (Freud: Pszichoanalízis). In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde is obviously the double of Jekyll. Hyde is considered to be the ’pure evil’ , but he is just a part of Jekyll’s personality. The answer to the question what controls the double or can it be controlled at all is the desire of the person to maximalise it’s own self-esteem.
Another answer is needed for the question of what controls which sides come over the oder side. I would say that humans will for joy and self-realization. In the investigated story Hyde wanted to live on his own way, wanted to be free. The backgroud of it lies in the Victorian age (Bényei 89). At that time Christian wold view was the accepted view of world, work was in the first place and loss of pleasure resulted hidden desires and wills in people’s mind. This diversity between wanted and allowed things at the time created Hyde in Jekyll and it is also allowed him to take over control Jekyll’s body and mind. These differences also encouraged people to do things secretly as in the story people fulfilled their desires and forbidden things in the shadow of the night in order to keep it a secret and not to be judged with criticism by people who have the same disires, but they are not able to achive their goals. Why? I have to say that fear and the knowledge that these are hardly judged and in contrast with the laws of the Victorian age.
Further question is, when the double occures in a personality does the person capable to realize it or is it uncouscios? Not from the very beginning, but there is a point when the person realizes that there is something wrong. For Jekyll that point was the moment when he woke up as Hyde. He does not know why, because he have not had a problem with the serum so far. He also realizes that Hyde began to overcome him, so it turnes out that he has to make a decision as soon as possible. A decision which will effect his further life: choose between Jekyll and Hyde. Would you choose to give up all the desires you have just to fit in the social expectations ? It is a hard decision, isn’t it? It was not for Jekyll. He knew what he had to do, but things not always goes as we plan. It is a psychological fact that when a double occures it does not disappear except taking constant medication or end with the death of the person. Why Jekyll sacrafice himself? Here is a quotation from the chapter titled ’Henry Jekyll’s Full Statement of The Case’: ”A change had come over me. It was no longer the fear of the gallows, it was the horror of being Hyde that racked me” (Stevenson 92). It is that simple. Nobody wants to lose control over their own body.
Last but not least, is it a real disease, if it is then what causes it and how can the person realize it? Among mental illnesses personality duality is a really series disease like schizophrenia. According to researchers dealing with mental illnesses these confusions are caused by the imballance of the instinctual impulses (Dr.Tringer László: “A psziciátria tankönyve”). As I mentioned, the disease for Dr. Jekyll was caused by the too strict social expectations at the Victorian age. The diseases which we discuss here have several foreshadows. The two most well-known presages are the hallucination and paranoid behavior, but we can count the disorganized speech and thinking here, as well. Like most of the mental illnesses it appears in stages. In the story, Hyde is always in a rush. As we read it we have a feeling that he wants to hide from someone, like he feels that someone is after him, follows him. This can be the evidence that the person does have a paranoid behavior and we can take it as a sign of mental illness. These mental diseases do not disappear easily. Of course, they can be cured with medicine, but they are like relive a trauma again and again while the bad memories take the person to madness. Jekyll also feels crazy as we move towards the end of the story and he wants to end his double. As a consequence he dies.
To sum up, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is based on a mental illness. The age of the writer gave him the idea of the double and his aim was to get people’s attention and draws their attention for the double life which they lived. From the reaction of people in the story we can make a conclusion about the double. The double is scary and give us a feeling of some kind of deformation. People have a fear of deformed things or we can say people as well. The double is present in every single human being in the world, but what really matters is that what quantity it surmounts in the personality of a person.